Oakland, CA: Municipal voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the nation's first ever business tax on retail marijuana sales.
Approximately 80 percent of Oakland voters approved the new tax (which appeared on the ballot as Measure F), which imposes an additional tax for "cannabis businesses" of $18 for every $1,000 of gross receipts beginning January 1, 2010.
Presently, Oakland's medicinal cannabis dispensaries are taxed at the same rate as other retail sales businesses ($60 per year for the $50,000 of gross receipts, plus $1.20 for each additional $100,000).
Four dispensaries are licensed by the Oakland City Council to sell and dispense medical marijuana.
According to a financial analysis by the Oakland City Auditor, Oakland's new cannabis business tax will generate an estimated $300,000 in additional annual tax revenue. Other proponents have estimated that the new tax could yield up to a million dollars yearly.
Representatives from the Oakland City Council, the California Nurses Association, and the dispensary community publicly advocated for the new tax, which had no formal opposition.
"The passage of this first-in-the-nation tax further legitimizes cannabis-based enterprises in Oakland and elsewhere," NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. These outlets are contributing to the health and welfare of their local communities, both socially and now economically. At a time when many municipalities are strapped for tax revenues and cutting public services it is likely that public officials in other cities will begin considering similar proposals."
City officials in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Sacramento may also impose a cannabis-business tax on certain retail dispensaries.
For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Dale Gieringer, California NORML Coordinator at: (415) 563-5858.